Wu: I’m afraid of a Mayor Rush Hill
President Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
In Newport Beach, the role of mayor is rotated annually among the City Councilmember and not directly elected like in Irvine or Santa Ana. Chances are, unless you’ve angered the rest of the councilmembers or you only last one term, you’ll get your turn.
For 2013, the seat was given to Mayor Keith Curry, his second spin as mayor, while Councilmember Rush Hill was appointed mayor pro tem.
Curry being mayor is good. His first time around, he performed very fairly. But Hill getting appointed mayor pro tem … well, that concerns me a little bit.
I had visions of a former mayor who showed up at a reception wearing a crown and holding a scepter, as I revisited Hill’s very interesting two years on the Newport Beach City Council.
Before Hill was even elected, as a very celebrated member of the Newport Beach establishment and former Newport Beach Citizen of the Year, he had accepted the mantle of “the eighth councilmember,” so the ego was already pretty big.
Then came the two California Fair Political Practices Commission complaints and probes into Hill’s activities as a councilman, one of which resulted in a warning.
Two FPPC investigations in two years as a councilmember. That’s probably a bit unprecedented.
Then there was his crazy, flippant attitude when he told a disgruntled council chambers audience that the council “… did not want to take the kind of (expletive) you’re giving out.” The best part of that was that he said later it was not a slip of the tongue – in other words, he indeed meant to curse at his constituents.
And he’s not even mayor yet.
It’s been quite a while since the last egomaniac took the center seat on the dais, but many can still remember that it was one very long year: the anti-rehab community exploded and lawsuits ensued, while conflicts among councilmembers overflowed into the local press in competing commentaries.
It took two consecutive years of the very mild-mannered, very patient and very understanding Mayor Ed Selich to calm the community down.
The last thing Newport Beach needs is another egomaniac as mayor, sparking FPPC complaints while cursing at his own constituents.
Give Rush Hill a bit more power and we might not like what his true character is. As “just” a councilman, he’s already been divisive and vulgar.
– Jack Wu is a resident of Newport Beach.